RIT Hosts Training Session Designed to Help Curb College Drinking




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Despite numerous programs and information sessions discouraging alcohol consumption, particularly underage alcohol consumption, some college students drink in a manner that is potentially harmful to themselves and others.

A new program designed to help reduce that potential harm is being rolled out to Rochester-area colleges Nov. 8-9 at Rochester Institute of Technology. The program, called BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention of College Students), is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is designed to help students make better alcohol-use decisions.

“We want to do everything possible to ensure the health and well-being of our students,” says Karen Pelc, the coordinator for RIT’s alcohol and drug prevention and education program. “BASICS provides us with another tool to help better the lives of at-risk students.”

BASICS aims to motivate students to reduce risky behaviors rather than focus on specific drinking goals such as abstinence or reduced drinking. Participating students, who can be selected through routine screening or by a referral from college officials, are engaged in two 50-minute interviews. The first session is used to gather information about a number of things, including the individual’s consumption pattern, personal beliefs and family history. The second session provides suggestions to reduce future risks associated with alcohol use and provides the individual with a number of options to assist in making changes.

BASICS, which is being used elsewhere in the country but not yet in the Rochester area, has experienced a great deal of success. Sixty-seven percent of students receiving BASICS intervention either resolved (their alcohol use was no different from normal or low-risk students) or reliably improved their behavior.

George A. Parks, the associate director of the University of Washington’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center, will lead the training sessions.

Representatives from RIT, University of Rochester, St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, Alfred University, Keuka College and Monroe Community College will be in attendance.

The training, which is not open to the public, takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Clarke A and B conference rooms in RIT’s Student Alumni Union. Media interested in interviewing George Parks or any of the RIT officials in attendance should call John Follaco at (585) 475-4948 to schedule an appointment.